Happy Valley
by Kristin Perkins

Sometimes I feel like I might suffocate from the godliness of this place
the goodliness of this place
this is the place
White shirted, pale-pink skin, blonde hair – the markings of some kind of bird
I am learning to get to know
Utah has a lot of Mormons

And I’ve come from oceans rippling with facets of mystery
and sand and sea and anorexic palm trees
to mountains that fold and curve like blankets over giant bodies
with snow somehow only on one side of a ridge
like a messy yin-yang symbol
or the shadow cast by something white, as dark as any other shadow
that is Utah Valley for me
the shadows in Happy Valley are just as dark as anywhere
which is as comforting as it is sad

I listen to the bird song, muffled in snow
echoing in the wide wide streets
empty on a Sunday
Sometimes I don’t understand
but here I am anyways
outside, inside upside-down
– learning

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I recently moved from San Diego, California, to Provo, Utah, to go to Brigham Young University. My first few months in Utah I definitely had culture shock, and while I am becoming more accustomed to the area I still feel like an outsider. I’ve grown used to that feeling and I’ve discovered, for the most part, I don’t mind it.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah” by Mountain Dreams. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristin Perkins is a theatre and gender studies university student graduating next year with honors. She has had a short story published in Inscape: A Journal of Literature and Art and has written theatre reviews through San Diego Theatre Scene and Front Row Reviewers Utah. She has been in published in a poetry anthology, Degenerates: Voices for Peace and featured on their website. Additionally, two of her plays have been produced, The Encyclopedia Salesman and A Death in the Family. Her visual art has been displayed in professional gallery spaces, and she is currently working on a collaborative performance art piece. Meanwhile, she is working on a novel and performing original spoken-word poetry.